HomeNewsLegendary Japanese Musician Ryuichi Sakamoto Dies at 71, Cause of Death Explored

Legendary Japanese Musician Ryuichi Sakamoto Dies at 71, Cause of Death Explored

Legendary Japanese Musician Ryuichi Sakamoto has passed away at the age of 75. The composer had been battling cancer in recent years and succumbed to the disease on March 28. His management company announced his death on Sunday.

Sakamoto began his career in the 1970s and co-founded the band Yellow Magic Orchestra. Over the years, he received immense fame due to his soundtrack work, which also won him several accolades. Read on to know more about the musician’s life and career.

Japanese Musician Ryuichi Sakamoto Dies at 71

Sakamoto’s management company took to Twitter on April 2 to share the tragic news with a statement: “While undergoing treatment for cancer discovered in June 2020, Sakamoto continued to create works in his home studio whenever his health would allow. He lived with music until the very end.”

“We would like to express our deepest gratitude to his fans and all those who have supported his activities, as well as the medical professionals in Japan and the U.S. who did everything in their power to cure him.”

“We would like to share one of Sakamoto’s favorite quotes: ‘Ars longa, vita brevis.’ Art is long, life is short,” added the statement. The musician was diagnosed with cancer twice in the last few years.

In 2014, he battled throat cancer and took a year off from his music career. In 2021, he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. “From now on, I will be living alongside cancer. But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer,” he said at the time.

Sakamoto was a Grammy and an Oscar Winner

Born in 1952 in Tokyo, Sakamoto started taking piano lessons at the age of six, followed by music composition lessons when he was 10. He began his career while studying at university and went on to found YMO with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi. The band became a huge success in Japan and two of their albums topped the charts.

The group soon also became famous in the US due to their English lyrics. Meanwhile, Sakamoto continued to drop solo albums, including Thousand Knives (1978), Esperanto (1985) and Neo Geo (1987). The musician also composed scores for several films, including The Little Buddha, Snake Eyes, and Femme Fatale.

In 1987, he worked as a composer and actor in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score, Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, and Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture.

Tributes Pour in for the Composer

Social media is now filled with condolence messages and tributes for the deceased composer. German artist Alva Noto tweeted, “RYUICHI SAKAMOTO . 1952-2023. WE WILL MISS YOU ON THIS SIDE OF LIFE. A VOID IS LEFT THAT I CANNOT FULLY GRASP AT THE MOMENT. OUR DEEPEST CONDOLENCES TO THOSE WHO WERE CLOSEST TO HIM.”

Filmmaker Bruce LaBruce wrote, “RIP the great Japanese composer, music producer & actor Ryuichi Sakamoto, who has died at 71. He’ll always be etched in my heart for his music for & performance in Nagisa Oshima’s “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” (1983), one of the great queer romantic love stories of modern times.”

Our condolences to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace!

A passionate writer who loves to cover Pop Culture, Celebs, Films and TV shows. When not writing, you can find me trekking, singing, and binge-watching.


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